28 December 2010

The Emily Contest Results

My Emily Contest results came in earlier this month. For those unfamiliar with the Emily Contest, each submitted story, really the first 7k words of the story, is read and critiqued by three different book industry professionals.

I did not make the finals round, but I received useful suggestions, comments and criticisms. What have I learned from the scores and comments?
  • I scored well enough from all the judges to be confident in my ability to craft stories that people would enjoy reading, besides my husband and best friend. (BTW, thanks Al and Jen for being my story guinea pigs!)
  • I  still have a ways to go to get the mechanics of story writing under my belt. Which really isn't a surprise given that I've only written two and a half stories, taken only two writing courses, and almost finished reading a creative writing book.
  • That these two stories, under the writing surgical knife and with some tweaks, could be stories that agents would be willing to represent.

With the judges' comments, I have a good idea of what I should do in order to make each story stronger and to improve my writing craft. I already knew I would busy in 2011, but now I have some concrete direction.

So, I send a hearty thank you to all the Emily Contest Judges. Good luck to all those that did make the final round. And here's to me getting busy.

13 December 2010

Thanks NaNoWriMo 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 has come and gone, and we are a household of winners. My two oldest kids won, and so did I. Yes, I wrote my 50,000 words during November. And I'm still writing.

Part of why I haven't blogged about my progress yet is I'd hoped to be done with my story by now. I foresee lots of rearranging and deleting coming to this story, but I'll keep writing to the end before even thinking too much about any of that stuff.

Instead, I thought I'd share a few things I learned this time around in NaNoWriMo.
  • Setting a word count, then striving for it, helped keep me at the keyboard getting those words onto the screen. So, now I have a daily word count for first drafts. I'll figure something out for revisions and how to move through those later.
  • Life intrudes. Or in my case, writing intrudes on life, when time allows. So, even if I don't meet my word count, thinking of my story counts, even it's just writing a quick something on sticky note to follow up on later. Something is better than nothing. That said ...
  • I can schedule mini-vacations from writing. Taking a break from writing to read that juicy/thrilling/suspenseful/favorite-author novel, or doing some other creative endeavor, is ok, even needed. I write this here to remind myself to not feel guilty if I don't write everyday.
  • It's time to reach out to other writers. Not just the little notes via Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, but getting in the trenches with folks about manuscripts, revision, setbacks, milestones and the business of writing. It's time to learn, commiserate, and celebrate with other writers.
I'm sure if I thought about it, I'd find other things that I learned or enjoyed, but that's enough for me to be working on at the moment. If you participated in NaNoWriMo, I hope you got something out of it, no matter what it was.

So, thanks for the memories, NaNoWriMo 2010, and for the lessons learned. Here's to meeting you, NaNoWriMo 2011, next November.